Cowboy Logic 12-24-11
Sorry, Bing, but I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas this year. I enjoy a little snow as much as any kid who likes to do some sledding and skiing to help pass the winter months, but after our last few winters I’m fine with the mere dusting of snow we’ve had up to this point and the chance for a slightly brown Christmas.
A whole lot of snow can turn into a whole lot of water in the spring and North Dakota had more overflowing rivers and lakes than it needed this year. So starting the first couple months of winter without much snow puts us two months closer to spring without the work and worries of the deep stuff.
Like a lot of my ranching neighbors say, if you’re going to have a little drought, winter’s the time to have it. The cows are out grazing the extra grass we grew last summer, the hay pile is melting away a little slower, and ranchers are saving a little chore time to stay inside and admire the market reports.
Snow will likely come, and it might be a lot if you believe some of the predictions, but at least we’re on our way to spring and longer days once we cross the winter solstice. So it seems right to take the time we might have been spending shoveling snow to take stock in the blessings of the year.
Our family has had good health this year, and any year you can’t recall any bad turns of health worse than a short flu bug or a nasty cold can be labeled a good year. No trips to the emergency room this year, and when you have a couple of boys who like to butt heads and play a little rough, that’s worth noting. And they’re old enough to know not to shove peas up their nose so that cuts back on the doctor visits too.
Good health has allowed us to get up each day and get our work done, and that’s something to be thankful for. There was plenty of extra work to be done because of excess rain and moisture in our part of the world, so a strong body and a clear mind was much needed.
We’re thankful for all the people we’re glad to call our friends and neighbors. My favorite part of the year is still the days of early summer when we work all the calves in the neighborhood and watch the pickups and horse trailers descend on a ranchyard, the horses get saddled, the calves get roped and the stories get shared at the end of the day as neighbors practice the old art of being neighborly. We remind ourselves to be just as neighborly the whole year through.
We’re thankful for the promise of Christmas, the start of a new year, turning the page as our days grow a little longer and the sun shines a little farther into the evening. A lot like when our three youngsters open the next drawer on our Advent calendar to see what it holds, I’m anxious to see what the next year holds.
This time of year’s a little like bedtime. We tuck the kids into bed at night with hugs and kisses and bedtime stories, and any of the rough spots of the day are forgiven. We give thanks for the day and for each other, and we look forward to tomorrow.
And the funny thing is, none of this stuff that really matters can be bought at the shopping mall.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends.